Column: Louise McSharry - Womanity: Wedding plans
If you haven't always dreamed of a wedding, the planning isn't exactly all it's cracked up to be
Like many little girls, I loved nothing more as a six-year-old than to cover myself with a net curtain and dream of a day that I would wear a veil. The idea of that special day in a church, where I would be centre of attention was tantalising. People would gasp at how beautiful I was, at how puffy my shining white dress was and the silkiness of my curly locks. Everyone would douse me in compliments and clamour to be near me, because it would be my day. My special day.
I was dreaming, of course, of my First Holy Communion. Unfortunately, it never happened. In the November of my second class year, my family moved to America and due to lack of religious commitment and some ensuing chaos, the whole communion thing went out the window.
You would think, so, with the hopes of my first opportunity to wear a white dress and veil dashed, that I would be only delighted to be planning my very own wedding. Unfortunately, that hasn't proven to be the case. Don't get me wrong, I'm really excited to be getting married, I just don't want to organise the thing.
When I express this opinion to other people they look at me, head tilted, with real sadness in their eyes and tell me that's "a real shame". They tell me about how much they loved planning their wedding, how it was the time of their lives and they'd love to do it over again, and I feel more and more like an alien. You see, I never really dreamed of a wedding. I dreamed of being married. I dreamed of the family I would have, and the times we would have together, the home that would be warm and welcoming, with two parents who loved each other - a place where everyone felt happy and safe. You probably don't need a degree in psychology to figure out that things were not always that way in my house growing up. The wedding was never really a factor.
Nonetheless, when I got engaged I began to picture what our wedding might look like. We'd have it abroad, we decided. Every wedding we've ever been to abroad has been incredible, and greedily, we loved the idea of having all of our loved ones together for that little bit longer. Besides, everyone says you get better value abroad.
However, as the cost estimates came in I literally wept over them. I couldn't believe how much a wedding ceremony can amount to financially, and couldn't imagine a time that I would be comfortable spending a small fortune on what is 'just a day'.
For a while my fiancé and I grumped around the place. Anytime anyone asked how the plans were going we would sigh in unison: 'We hate our wedding.' I hated myself for it, thinking: 'What is wrong with you? You have found this amazing man, and you love each other enough to get married, and you're complaining about it?' Still, the gloom enveloped us.
The cloud lifted a little when we decided to throw the foreign wedding idea out the window. We'd just do it here. Yes, it would be expensive, but it would be easier, and at least we would feel a little more in control of what was going on.
We set about finding a special venue, but still I couldn't shake the feeling of the whole thing being a rip-off. Every time my fiancé tried to talk to me about options I snapped at him and said I didn't want to talk about it.
Then we found our place. Suddenly, I could picture our friends and family there, I could feel the future craic, and I could see a potential end. A time when I wouldn't have to stress about flowers, photographers, budgets and bands - seriously, the stressing about availability can really get to you.
So, it's getting a little easier. I'm still horrified at the cost, but unwilling to simplify any further. I still find it difficult to talk about, but at least I've stopped saying "I hate our wedding" like a spoiled brat. Of course, yes, I realise that I'm a spoiled brat, but just in case you're one too, I wanted you to know that you're not alone. Hey, organising a wedding can do that kind of thing to a girl.
First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent